Major shifts from clan to state, migration to settlement, and single ethnic group to multi-ethnic society are systematically analyzed with the intention of revealing the concealed contradictions, conflict, tension, and social cleavages that permitted conquest, desertions, raiding, assimilation, domination, and exploitation, as well as social security, communalism, and tolerance.These ideologies, practices and values combined and co-existed uneasily, periodically and tendentiously within the Ndebele society.Academia Debate | Affordable Housing Forum | African Studies Centre Leiden | Asia Global | Bonger Instituut | DCE East Indies | DCE West Indies | Europe Generations | IIDE | ISSA | Studio Meritis Ma KOM | Orbis | Recht te Utrecht | Recht te Voet | Rozenberg Publishers | Voices | Zorg Lab The Ndebele of Zimbabwe, who today constitute about twenty percent of the population of the country, have a very rich and heroic history.It is partly this rich history that constitutes a resource that reinforces their memories and sense of a particularistic identity and distinctive nation within a predominantly Shona speaking country.Earlier historians over-emphasized military coercion as though violence was ever enough as a pillar of nation-building.In this book I delve deeper into a historical interrogation of key dynamics of state formation and nation-building, hegemony construction and inscription, the style of governance, the creation of human rights spaces and openings, and human security provision, in search of those attributes that made the Ndebele state tick and made it survive until it was destroyed by the violent forces of Rhodesian settler colonialism.It is also partly later developments ranging from the colonial violence of 1893--7 ( 2); Ndebele evictions from their land under the direction of the Rhodesian colonial settler state; recurring droughts in Matabeleland; ethnic forms taken by Zimbabwean nationalism; urban events happening around the city of Bulawayo; the state-orchestrated and ethnicised violence of the 1980s targeting the Ndebele community, which became known as -style violence—that have contributed to the shaping and re-shaping of Ndebele identity within Zimbabwe.The Ndebele history is traced from the Ndwandwe of Zwide and the Zulu of Shaka.
Therefore, the book The Ndebele Nation (see: below) delves deeper into questions of how Ndebele power was constructed, how it was institutionalized and broadcast across people of different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.
Their Shona neighbours also contributed to the image of the Ndebele as the militaristic and aggressive ‘other’.
Within this discourse, the Shona portrayed themselves as victims of Ndebele raiders who constantly went away with their livestock and women—disrupting their otherwise orderly and peaceful lives.
The Ndebele fought to achieve domination, material security, political autonomy, cultural and political independence, social justice, human dignity, and tolerant governance even within their state in the face of a hegemonic Ndebele ruling elite that sought to maintain its political dominance and material privileges through a delicate combination of patronage, accountability, exploitation, and limited coercion.
The overarching analytical perspective is centred on the problem of the relation between coercion and consent during different phases of Ndebele history up to their encounter with colonialism.
With the passage of time, the Ndebele themselves played up to some of the earlier characterizations as they sought to build a particular identity within an environment in which they were surrounded by numerically superior ‘Shona’ communities.